Javier Solana warns of security fears resulting from climate change.

The Guardian has a story by Javier Solana that gives an outline of the report that will be presented to European heads of state and government this week, arguing that climate change is profoundly impacting international security and that this will intensify and need urgent action. He is quoted as saying:

“The most appropriate way of viewing climate change is as a threat multiplier: it aggravates the stresses and strains within and between countries. Climate change threatens to overburden those countries and regions that are already fragile and conflict-prone. The critical variable is governance. How governments will respond to the impacts of climate change depends on how well they resolve conflicts today. “

In essence he sees the threat coming from three main causes: conflict over resources, increased migration from affected areas and disputes over oil and gas reserves if borders change when sea levels rise.

The report points to potential conflict arising from the Arctic thawing which will see countries having an interest making territorial claims, especially if the Northwest passage remains open.

The ongoing droughts and floods, as well as crop failure and water shortages, being experienced across the globe, are seen as tinder boxes for future social unrest. Furthermore, he proposes that these hardships will foster resentment from affected countries toward those perceived to be most responsible for the problems. He raises the specter of far reaching conflicts if nothing is done to mitigate the problems.

The report proposes that action should be taken to put in place early warning and disaster response capabilities, along with efforts to find international legislative mechanisms for conflict resolution, as well as making financial resources available in anticipation of needs.

Solana’s comments are stark, painting a bleak future under the threat of climate change and highlighting the urgency of the situation. The report makes it patently clear that “the scientific argument about climate change is over” and the time to secure the future is now.

~ by abstraktbiblos on Tuesday, 11 March, 2008.

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